STATE BUDGET: MPs, Mayor react to funding allocations
BUNDABERG’S local MPs and Mayor have reacted to funding commitments announced for the region in yesterday’s state budget.
Bundy saw multiple projects receive funding in the budget handed down by Treasurer Cameron Dick.
It was the first one delivered for the state since the beginning of the covid pandemic and came one month after Labor claimed victory in the state election.
Member for Bundaberg Tom Smith said it was a budget that delivered for Bundaberg with funding allocations for large infrastructure and job creation projects as well as community projects and skills and jobs training.
“I am so pleased to see that this budget is delivering for the people of Bundaberg, because that is exactly what I have done and will continue to do; stand up and fight to deliver for our fair share,” he said.
“The Palaszczuk Labor Government promised to deliver a strong economic recovery for Bundaberg, and that is exactly what this budget does for our community.”
Mr Smith said the commitments were “vitally important for the Bundaberg community”.
“Safeguarding health, protecting the frontline service, investing in regional infrastructure and
creating local jobs for local people – this budget is a strong economic recovery plan, that has been brought about by the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s strong health response to Covid-19,” he said.
“Money has been put towards the delivery of the new Bundaberg Hospital and Alcohol and Other Drug Rehabilitation Centre, just as promised by the Premier, Deputy Premier and myself.
“These are projects that not only invest in the health of our region, but in jobs for our region.
“$42.5 million committed to deliver the Bundaberg East Flood Levee, a project that will create over 680 jobs and keep safe the residents of Bundaberg East and South from future flooding events.”
While a number of large project received funding, smaller project for community groups such as the Bundaberg Central Men’s Shed which received $100,000 in 2020-21 out of a $200,000 total spend for a new shed.
“Being able to ensure funding for community groups such as our local Men’s Shed means that our community can continue to have organisations that support the mental and physical wellbeing of their members,” he said.
“We all experienced the difficulties of having to isolate from our community and social groups during the early stages of Covid-19, in those moments we realised how important those groups can be, especially in a regional community like Bundaberg.”
Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett welcomed and acknowledged funding for the flood levee, Salter Oval and the Men’s Shed.
However, Mr Bennett said there were lost opportunities.
“I want to take a closer look at the budget and what it will mean for the people of Bundaberg and Burnett, but from what I can see on the outset, there’s lost opportunities for Paradise Dam,” he said.
“That money allocated for essential works and improvements has already been allocated – there’s nothing new there.
“I’m also bitterly disappointed that there isn’t anything new in the budget for the expansion of the Port to ensure it reaches its full potential. This is essential to create new businesses and residential opportunities to significantly boost the economy and create more jobs.”
Mr Bennett said the government had also broken its promise of a $4 billion mandate.
“During the election campaign the figure of $4 Billion was repeatedly used, and today that figure has blown out to $28 Billion,” he said.
“The Government asked for a mandate on the back of a $4 billion increase in borrowing, and it’s now seven times that figure.”
Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey welcomed commitments for projects including the Agriculture and Horticulture Centre and Maker Space Centre at the Bundaberg TAFE.
“Council also welcomes $100,000 to improve lighting at Salter Oval and the other capital projects in the Bundaberg region,” he said.
“We hope for our fair share from the significant investment across Queensland in education and tourism.”
However, Cr Dempsey said he was concerned about the seemingly lack of dialogue between both the state and federal governments on major projects in Bundaberg.
“The Federal Government provided $32 million for Quay Street without consulting the state, now the State Government has earmarked $42.5 million for flood mitigation without consulting the Commonwealth,” he said.
“Bundaberg needs our state and federal members working together with state and federal ministers to achieve outcomes which benefit the community.”